Heritage, Volume 14, Number 3, Summer 1996 Page: 10
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This drawing is of the Texas Brigade in the Devil's Den, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 2, 1863. Their assigned mission was to turn the left flank of the Federal
line that had been established along Cemetery Ridge, running south from Gettysburg.
although during the course of the war there were a number of men who commanded the brigade
- Louis T. Wigfa f, John B. Hood, Wiffiam T. Wofford, Jerome B. Robertson, John Gregg,
C.M. Winkfer, FrederickS. Bass, Robert H. Powef - it was Hood's name with which the
Brigade was inextricably (inked and that the men of the Brigade
"To narrate the exploits of Hood's Texas
Brigade from 1862 until Appomattox would
be to write the history of the campaigns of
the Army of Northern Virginia."5 The Brigade
participated in all of them save
Chancellorsville during which time it was
on detached duty with Longstreet's Corps
in southern Virginia. This absence was
more than compensated for by the Brigade's
participation in the most fiercely contested
battle of the war fought in the West, that at
Chickamauga in northwest Georgia in September
1863. Beginning with their first
real engagement at Eltham's Landing, Virginia,
on May 7, 1862, during the retreat
from the Yorktown line at the beginning of
the Peninsula campaign, their's was to be a
record written in terms of blood and unparalleled
In June 1862, at Gaines Mill, the Brigade
faced the first real test of its military
mettle when it was thrown against some of
the most formidable Federal defensive works
it was to encounter during the entire course
of the war. Other troops had tried and
failed, suffering staggering losses in the
attempts. Finally, turning to the then untried
Texas Brigade, Gen. Lee asked Gen.
Hood if his troops could carry the position.
Hood, who had served with Lee in the 2nd
U.S. Cavalry on the Texas frontier in happier
times, replied simply, "I shall try."
In his memoirs written after the war,
Hood, who led the assault personally and
on foot, remembered the position as being,
". .. heavily entrenched upon the side of an
elevated ridge ... At the foot of the slope
ran Powhite Creek, which stream together
with the abatis [barricade] in front of their
works, constituted a formidable obstruction
to our approach, whilst batteries, supported
by masses of infantry, crowned the
crest of the hill in rear, and long-range guns
were posted upon the south side of the
Chickahominy [River], in readiness to enfilade
our advancing columns."6
It was the 4th Texas and 18th Georgia
that bore the heaviest burden in the fight
that day and William P. Townsend of Company
"C", 4th Texas described it as, ". . . a
most horrible fight, every other man was
shot down in the Regt. - 257 were killed or
wounded out of little over 500."7 The 4th
Texas' regimental commander, Colonel
John Marshall was killed, Lt. Colonel
Bradfute Warwick was mortally wounded,
and Maj or G.J.C. Key was severely wounded
10 HERITAGE *SUMMER 1996
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 14, Number 3, Summer 1996, periodical, Summer 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45405/m1/10/: accessed May 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.